How do you build a new house on a very steep site, on an island that can only be reached by boat? Very carefully! All materials and equipment had to come in by barge. There is a dirt access road that runs along the ridge of the island at the back of the house, but the site itself is difficult to access with equipment. The owners built their dock, lots of steps up to the house location, and a deck/sleeping platform first. They spent several years enjoying the property, getting to know it and understanding how they wanted their eventual summer home to function. The result is what you see here. The foundation is precast concrete pillars. The back of the house is cut into the slope slightly with some stone retaining worked into the site. The front, as you can see, is a good bit above grade, with steps headed down towards a deck and then the lake. One wing contains a bedroom, bunk room, and bath, while the other contains the master suite and pantry/laundry. The main “A” frame contains the kitchen behind and a half level above the living area, with a loft above. No matter where you are, the views through the trees to the lake are unimpeded. Not a bad place to spend a summer afternoon (or weekend, or week, or month)!
These folks wanted to add a master suite above their existing garage and more character to the street face with a porch and dormers. They had drawings from a design-build firm that included these items, but it looked like a duplex! They hired Danis Construction and Draw First to come up with a new approach. The existing garage was torn down to expand it from two to three cars, and the porch that wraps around the back brings the scale of the gable wall down nicely to the pool level. The barn door on the front is purely decorative, but the owner says, “It’s the finishing touch that makes the project”.
This was an oddly shaped single story house with several additions that resulted in an “alley” in the middle of the back of the house. The rear of the house borders a golf course and the front of the house is on a main road. The owner wanted to add more square footage, capitalize on the views to the rear and create a larger and more cohesive presence on the road without losing the “small house character”. We used the existing footprint, relocated the main entrance, filled in the alley and added a second story. The owner “loves” the result.
A cozy little cottage on the lake. Lots of folks set a goal to own one, and this couple was fortunate to have been able to find a modest three bedroom property that they and their family enjoyed seasonally for years. When they reached retirement, they decided that they wanted to live here full time, which meant they needed more room — for entertaining, for guests, for storage, for hobbies, for “alone time”. The original building housed the three bedrooms, living and dining areas, screened porch and deck on the main level. The lower level had some additional semi-finished hobby space, and there was a small storage loft. We reorganized the main level of the original footprint to house an enlarged master suite, kitchen and dining. A new family room was added to on side, while an entry, mudroom, laundry and spacious 3-car garage was added to the other. The screened porch and deck were also expanded. Plenty of seasonal “toy” storage was added below, and upstairs are two guest bedrooms, spacious his and hers “offices” (his gets the lake view and hers has a private balcony), and plenty of storage for supplies and collectibles. Although the “little” may have been taken away from this property, there’s no arguing that it is still a very cozy cottage on the lake.
The owners of this property only lived about a mile down the road, but they fell in love with the large lot here—one nicely wooded acre in an older neighborhood close to downtown. As much as they loved the lot, though, they hated the house. They needed more room for their family, but they also wanted to give the existing structure a more dignified presence. Working within the existing footprint (except for the front porch), we relocated the entry and reorganized the garage doors. Casement windows were replaced with double hungs and a second story was added. Three gables provide a feeling of symmetry, and the front porch gives the entry scale. The owners say “We had no idea—it’s more than we could possibly have imagined!”